It appears online poker players may well have cause to celebrate today after reports emerged that European investors are preparing to buy disaster-hit online poker website Full Tilt Poker.
Fult Tilt Poker Shut Down in US
Full Tilt was one of three poker sites – along with PokerStars and Absolute Poker – shut down on ‘Black Friday’ by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), although this deal could well free up approximately $150 million of American players’ money.
Full Tilt saw their American operations halted on April 15, when the company’s founders were indicted on charges of violating gambling laws, bank fraud and money laundering.
Full Tilt Poker Shut Down in Europe
Additionally, while initially still able to operate outside the USA, Full Tilt’s international operations were also halted on Wednesday, when the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) suspended their licenses – to leave countless other poker players around the globe furious that more had not been done to meet US government demands.
The AGCC released a statement – issued by executive director André Wilsenach – on Wednesday that pointed out that Full Tilt had been “operating contrary to Alderney legislation”, resulting in the body “taking immediate action in the public interest”.
Full Tilt Poker Future
A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 26, in London and, while this is sure to still go ahead, the buy-out must clearly be good news for every poker player left in limbo by Full Tilt’s slow reaction to being shut down.
Solicitors working for Full Tilt decided to reveal the details of this latest movement on the issue, but insisted on retaining anonymity due to the sensitivity of the website’s continuing negotiations with the DoJ’s prosecutors, although a US Attorney’s Office spokesperson refused to comment on the reports.
Those solicitors are adamant that the agreement is part of wider negotiations aimed at clearing up Full Tilt’s legal troubles with American prosecutors and the AGCC.
This supposedly-done deal – which comes just a day after British Channel Islands regulators suspended Full Tilt’s licenses – would give the European investors a majority share in the website’s Irish parent company, Pocket Kings, while also providing the cash to assist Full Tilt in settling their civil court case with the DoJ, which is aiming to recover about $3 billion from the three original sites targeted by the closures.
Full Tilt has still not started paying back the estimated $150 million held in accounts by American players when the site was closed following the indictments issued by a Manhattan Federal Court.
Meanwhile, poker superstar Phil Ivey, who has boycotted the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas in support of those players left without access to accounts, was preparing to sue Full Tilt for alleged damages done to his reputation by their lack of positive action.
But – following the latest developments – it appears the 35-year-old is ready to withdraw his Nevada State Court lawsuit, with lawyer David Chesnoff saying that Ivey “intends to dismiss his lawsuit as he believes Full Tilt is taking steps to see that the players are paid”.
Incidentally, PokerStars have returned over $120 million to American players after their accounts were frozen, but the smaller Absolute Poker – like Full Tilt – have not yet repaid any cash.